India threatens “mutual action” if Britain does not reform vaccine policy

The UK government has been accused of “discrimination” for enforcing mandatory quarantine even for fully vaccinated people arriving from India, the United Arab Emirates and other countries under their new Covid-19 travel policies.

The Indian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called the UK’s decision not to recognize Covishield – the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune – as “discriminatory”.

Indian Foreign Minister Harsh Varshan Shringla warned the country of its right to “take action against each other” if the problem is not resolved.

“Not recognizing Covishield is a discriminatory policy and it affects our citizens traveling to the UK. The Foreign Secretary has taken the matter up strongly with the new British Foreign Secretary. I have been told that some assurances have been made that this issue will be resolved, ”said Mr. Shringla in New Delhi.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar raised the issue with his British counterpart Liz Truss in New York and reportedly urged her to lift the quarantine requirement for vaccinated Indians. “Urges a swift resolution of the quarantine problem for mutual benefit,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

“We offered our partner countries mutual recognition of vaccines. But these are reciprocal actions. If we don’t get satisfaction, we have the right to take mutual action, ”the ministry said in a statement.

UK regulations require travelers who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine to self-quarantine for 10 days. The new rules come into effect on October 4th and are an attempt to streamline the current “red-yellow-green traffic light system” into a single red list of countries.

However, according to New Delhi, India has provided the UK with 4 million doses of the Covishield vaccine upon request. “The basic problem is that the vaccine is called Covishield, the original manufacturer of which is based in the UK. This was used by their health system, ”added the statement.

In addition to India, several other countries in the Middle East, South America, Africa and Russia are unhappy with the change in British travel policy.

Meanwhile, author and opposition MP Shashi Tharoor has pulled out of a planned UK book tour to protest quarantine rules. In a tweet on Monday, he wrote: “It is insulting to ask fully vaccinated Indians to self-quarantine. The British are revising ”.

Another Indian lawmaker, Jairam Ramesh, said: “It smells like racism”. “Absolutely bizarre considering Covishield was originally developed in the UK and the Serum Institute Pune shipped to that country,” he added.

Covishield and Covaxin are the two India-made coronavirus vaccines that have been given to millions of Indians to date.